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  • Clean Fuels Alliance America

ASTM International honors Howell with prestigious Eagle Award

Howell, right, with Jim Simnick, D02 Committee Chair (Photo: ASTM International)

Clean Fuels Alliance America announced June 19 that Steve Howell, partner at MARC-IV (M4) Consulting and former longtime technical director with the National Biodiesel Board (now Clean Fuels), was honored with the prestigious Eagle Award at the semiannual ASTM International D02 Committee meetings in Austin, Texas, in June.


The Eagle Award honors sustained multiple and significant contributions to the standardization process in ASTM D02 Committee and subcommittees.


Howell has spearheaded technical efforts on behalf of the biodiesel industry since its inception in the mid-1990s.


As chair of the Biodiesel Task Force since 1994, he’s been instrumental in securing consensus fuel standards for biodiesel in diesel or heating-oil applications for ASTM and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).


“I can’t think of anyone who has been more influential in the technical aspects of biodiesel use and the development of biodiesel standards than Steve Howell,” said Teresa Alleman, D02 first vice-chair and quality specialist at HF Sinclair Midstream. “His tireless efforts, and unique ability to develop a consensus among parties, that are in many cases diametrically opposed, places him in a very special group of people. The Eagle Award is one of the highest honors from ASTM, and this recognition is well-deserved.”


Howell said activity on fuel quality standards for biodiesel blends over 20 percent (B20)—and the research and technical data to support them—is at an all-time high.


The recent increase stems from the need to lower the total metals and phosphorus levels in B100 to maintain support for B20 in today’s diesel engines as well as the new aftertreatment systems slated for introduction in 2027.


“Clean Fuels, the national trade association representing biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, heavily invested in the engine testing that provided the data we used to ballot a new low-metals grade into ASTM D6751, the standard for biodiesel,” said Howell. “That testing showed B20 with lower metals had no adverse effects on NOx and aftertreatment systems over the full useful life of diesel engines, which is increasing to 435,000 miles.”


Efforts to maximize lifecycle carbon-emission reductions using existing diesel equipment is also driving interest in higher biodiesel blends.


The latest advancement, an update to the specification for fuel use in marine transportation, now covers biodiesel blends up to B100.


ISO 8217:2024 was achieved through extensive collaboration between industry stakeholders and technical experts.


Howell said as they continue to secure technical data for higher biodiesel blends, the task force will ballot standards covering up to B100 for all diesel applications.

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